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Interview: RUSSELL MORRIS

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Back2Back is a production showcasing the songs of two iconic Beatles albums, Abbey Road and Sgt Pepper’s, never performed live by the band in their time.  Back2Back, as the name would imply, brings you these two innovative albums in their entirety, track by track, back to back and features four incredible vocalists, Russell Morris, Jack Jones, Kav Temperly and U.K. folk rock singer/songwriter Jon Allen. Together and individually, the singers will lend their voices to these classic Beatles tunes including ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’, ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘Something’, ‘Oh Darlin’ and many more. Russell is excited to have the opportunity to perform in this production, as he told us in this recent interview. “I’ve already done one of these shows and quite enjoyed it,” he says. “And they asked me if I’d be interested in doing it again. I let the first one go by and I thought the time was right just now. They are really good shows; the production is excellent and the playing is very reminiscent of those albums. We haven’t got into rehearsals yet. I sort of half know the songs and in the next two weeks start to do a bit of a crammer, start to learn them and get them into my head. I’ll go with the flow. I don’t stress over things like this. I just turn up and if they say ‘Stand on spot A’, I stand on spot A.”

While Russell does have his own favourite Beatles songs, he won’t be singing them this time. “Unfortunately I’m not singing any of my favourites. I’m singing all the other ones. My favourite songs of the Beatles are ‘A Day in the Life’, ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ (he sings a line of this one for me which is a nice bonus as he won’t be singing it in the show!) and ‘Carry That Weight’.  They’re my favourites and I’m not singing them. They were grafted out before I got in there.”  But I’m certain that whatever songs have been chosen for Russell, he will do a brilliant job singing them. “Well I hope so. I haven’t done it yet so we’ll see,” he laughs.

Russell, Jack, Kav and Jon will be backed by an outstanding fifteen piece band consisting of some of the country’s top musicians with many years of experience amongst them. “They’re all really good players,” he says. “All the musicians have probably learned all their parts already. It’s just the singers who are lazy and not up to date. Or maybe it’s just me…” he says with a laugh.

As well as preparing for the Back2Back tour, the singer has been extremely busy with his own shows around the country. “We just did Queensland,” he tells me, commenting that Birdsville was extremely cold. “It was six degrees and overnight it dropped below zero. It was terrible.”

There will be a handful of shows scheduled around the Back2Back tour, including Darwin and Alice Springs and Sorrento. “And then we go to America in September.” The band has recently returned from an American tour where they were successful in lining up management and some future events over there. “So now we go back and we work at a few festivals and concerts and things like that.”

Russell is full of praise for the team behind the Back2Back production which is the same team responsible for previous Beatles show such as The White Album Concert, Rubber Soul Revolver, All You Need is Love and Let it Be so there is a wealth of experience and expertise involved in the making of this and other shows which bring The Beatles music to life for Australian audiences and performed superbly by four singers of the finest calibre. Russell is confident that fans will enjoy hearing the songs every bit as much as the artists enjoy performing them.  “I’m really looking forward to it,” he tells me.

The show kicks off in Melbourne, at The Plenary Theatre on 20th August; a venue that Russell tells me he has never played in before. “I’ve been there to see other people play but haven’t played there myself so this will be a first.” The show then travels to Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney (where there will be two shows at the Sydney Opera House)and finishes up in Perth on 2nd September.

Click here for full tour dates and to book tickets

 

by Sharyn Hamey

Copyright © Sharyn Hamey 2016.  All rights reserved

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